#1 - B.C. is ahead in terms of kitchen design.
Surprised? Don't be. The entire Bay Area, which includes
to Cupertino to , is an interesting mix of
extremes. Walnut Creek
When I first moved in 1999, I discovered that the trend of maple cabinets and dark granite that was finally winding down in B.C. was just winding up in
Valley. Californians can be
avant-garde yet also surprisingly conservative. U-shaped kitchens were (and
still are) a large part of kitchen design here. When I tried a few times to redesign
kitchens by kicking out the "u" and adding a multi-level table at the
end, I was informed that the clients wanted something new, but not "that
Yet at the other extreme, there is some West Coast design with Japanese influences that many of you would find familiar. It’s just that what we might consider “standard” Canadian design is considered very contemporary here.
Not that we don’t have some interesting design work – far from it. With
population ten times the population of the whole of , it’s impossible to blanket
the entire state with one design aesthetic. There are televisions popping up
from under counter locations, sliding island tops, suspended cherry canopies,
stainless columns, flyover panels, and communication centers. Canada
But they’re not the norm in all areas.
#2 - I'd like to design an angled island again.
Islands are square. Square, square, square. Oh, okay. They can be rectangular, with multi-levels of glass, wood and stone counters...but they're still square. No canting the end of the island, no interesting little bump-outs off the back end. I've tried, but people simply point to their magazines and say, "No go." (Disclaimer: I have, in fact, canted exactly two peninsulas. One was due to a last-minute structural post that need to be added; the second was because...I was lucky?)
This isn't to say the homeowners here aren’t the first to agree we should raise the ceiling and add a 2-tiered edge detail, which leads us to...
#3- Californians are more apt to try something new
Doesn't seem to make sense after the last two, does it? But in spite of not being willing to accept ideas we think of as standard in B.C. design, Californians are very accepting of interesting design ideas -- and willing to pay for it. As many of my clients have said, "I'm only going to do this once, and I want what I want."
That means interesting flooring and ceiling treatments, altering traffic flow and openings, adding innovative home and lighting electronics, and being open to the latest in material innovations.
The best part of designing in
California is having access to a
staggering amount of materials, trades, manufacturing, and other design
professionals that isn't simply available in . The level of catering and
attentiveness by the above groups to our madness has helped create it. Canada
When I was in B.C., I remember grinning with other professionals about the "crazy Californian designers" who specified the most custom, out-there designs. Now I'm one of them. Quelle surprise.
While I laugh at myself, I'd still like to design a two-level angled island canted off a 46" high oven tower at least once before I end my career...
Kelly Morisseau, CMKBD, CID, is a Canadian-born
residential designer with confused
spelling and a really strange accent. You can find her on her website: Kelly's Kitchen Sync or look for
her book of insider kitchen design tips on Amazon.ca. California